PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Give Peace A Chance

I repudiate violence. I believe vigilante groups brandishing weapons and coming into cities as “militia” to “defend” territory that is not theirs is repugnant. I believe destruction of property and looting is wrong and is not the work of peaceful protesters or at all the agenda of Black Lives Matter. It is being stoked by those who wish to tarnish their cause.

Most of the death and destruction where authorities have determined the perpetrators has been laid at the feet of right-wing extremists determined to gin things up to promote fear. These are domestic terrorists, plain and simple, seeking to change the subject from systemic racism.

As a lifelong peaceful protester, I am incensed by those who question my right to free assembly as somehow anti-American, and I am furious by those trying to co-opt a righteous cause with violence as yet another way to divide us and create more civil unrest. We need leaders who promote peace and justice.

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